Everything went right for England on the first day of the fourth Test match against Australia at Old Trafford, and by the end of it they had reached 307 for three wickets. That is not an unassailable position, but it is an immensely strong one, particularly as the pitch, even at this early stage, is not turning its back on spin. Indeed, Laker and Lock must already feel a tingling in their fingers at the prospect of bowling on it later in the match, and England have reason to believe that their performance yesterday may be an important stride towards retaining the Ashes.
Perhaps as significant a moment as any during the day was when May, for the third time this season, won the toss. The wicket, contrary to expectations, had no semblance of life. It was, instead, a blissful place for batsmen as it was heartbreaking for bowlers, and England made the most of their good fortune by batting with unaccustomed skill and welcome success. Richardson and Cowdrey sent them away with a fine opening partnership of 174 in 190 minutes, which was the highest against Australia since Hutton and Barnett made 219 together at Nottingham in 1938. Before that only Hobbs and Rhodes, Hobbs and Sutcliffe, and Hayward and Jackson had made more for England’s first wicket against Australia, so that England’s pair of the present have moved into exalted company. When they were gone two more young amateurs carried on the stroke-play.
First Day 26 July 1956
“Laker and Lock must already feel a tingling in their fingers…”
Published on Jun 6, 2012